Dignitatis humanae; lusting for new Macs; Surface Pro 4 setback; and of course we’ll screen all those refugees

Chaos Manor View, Saturday, December 05, 2015


Yesterday I was reading the Wall Street Journal at the breakfast table; I was reading the paper copy, because, probably out of habit, I find it easier to read as a newspaper in the mornings. Precious, my Surface 3 Pro with Surface 4 keyboard, works well enough, but, again likely because of habit, it seems to be more in the way than the paper copy, and I’d have to go get her from my front room office before I sit down to my first coffee of the morning, and that would mean using the walker which I have just folded up after going out to the front walk to get the three paper newspapers we get and bringing them in so Roberta will have her paper, and I will have my LA Times and Wall Street Journal, and – well, this sentence is getting away from me, but you see where it might have gone. Reading on line at the breakfast table is not a simple affair, and I haven’t planned out how to make it a daily routine.

For that matter, newspapers – for me – are better on paper anyway. I can mark them up, I can stack thing in orderly piles – again habit – and I’m just used to doing things that way. I doubt I will ever give up newspapers on paper.

Anyway, yesterday’s Wall Street Journal had an editorial page piece by Father Arne Panula on the Vatican Two Declaration Dignitatis Humanae that I thought I would recommend to you. As Wikipedia puts it (at least this minute; you never know about Wikipedia) “Dignitatis humanae spells out the Church’s support for the protection of religious liberty. More controversially, it set the ground rules by which the Church would relate to secular states, both pluralistic ones like the U.S., and officially Catholic nations like Malta and Costa Rica,” and tends to be rather unknown now despite its importance. It informed our two novels Inferno and Escape from Hell. I was going to mention this yesterday, but I forgot.

This morning I remembered, but I couldn’t remember the exact title of Father Panula’s article. That’s important, because of paywalls; if you Google the exact title, you can generally access the item you’re looking for without regard to paywalls. So I logged on to the Wall Street Journal – and couldn’t figure out how to see yesterday’s paper. Today’s I have fine – I pay for both paper and electronic subscription – but I couldn’t find my way back to yesterday. I wasted enough time on a fruitless search for how to read yesterday’s paper and found the exact title rather easily, but I do wonder: how do you browse past editions of the Wall Street Journal? I know there’s got to be a simple way, but it apparently is lost in my failing internal data recovery system.

Anyway, you need to Google “A Lodestar of Religious Liberty”, which ought to show you the link to the short piece. I get http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-lodestar-of-religious-liberty-1449188143 which ought to work, but of course I won’t ever encounter paywalls in the first place.

Father Panula notes that this Declaration, accepted by an overwhelming majority, is important in this current age. In contrast with the Caliphate and other Islamic movements, the Church has renounced any right or obligation to force religion on anyone, even for that person’s own good (as argued by the Inquisition). There is a universal right to religious freedom. That does not mean that missionaries have no right to argue for conversion; it does mean they cannot use secular power to obtain it. There is no obligation to offer dissenters the choice of the Church or the sword. There is more, all worth reading.

Dignitatis Humanae

The WSJ paywall unfortunately is stronger than your link-fu. 🙁



Eric and I went to the Apple store the other day. All my Apple equipment other than the iPhone 6 is pre 2008. My MacBook Air, which I loved, decided to die horribly—it swelled up like a balloon. It’s long out of warranty, and the battery isn’t replaceable – that’s what swelled up of course – so there isn’t much to be done about it. I like the Surface Pro 3 (with Surface 4 keyboard) enough that there’s really no need to replace the Air, but I do miss it; If I did much travelling or even writing outside my house I’d almost certainly get a new Air. I carried that Air to Kaiser when they were burning my brain out with X-rays – well, actually burning out The Lump, which, Deo gratia they did splendidly and I have been cancer free for years now – and it was very easy to work with. I wrote columns in the radiation therapy waiting room, and journal entries, and that made waiting to get my head burned with hard radiation a lot easier.

Needless to say, I have a sentimental attachment to the Air; and I did find it well worth carrying. As I said, if I were going to do a lot of writing away from Chaos Manor, I’d get one. As it is, the Surface Pro 3 with Pro 4 keyboard does all the away from home work I need, now that we’ve given up the beach house.

But I was enormously impressed with the new MacBook Pro line. My MacBook Pro dates back to before the brain cancer; I guess it’s one of the first of the new Intel Apple line. I’m pleased to say it works just fine. No glitches. I mostly use it to Skype, and it works perfectly. But wow, are those new MacBook Pro’s beautiful! Getting one is probably a luxury I can’t quite justify. I have a need for a working Mac, since I do a lot of silly things so you don’t have to, and I don’t think of anything I need to do that my Pro can’t do; it would be a simple upgrade, and a bit expensive, and work faster, and of course the screen is beautiful, I mean really beautiful, and if I don’t stop I’ll probably talk ,myself into getting one.

Macs last a lot longer than Windows machine. They cost more, but amortized over the actual useful life of the system it’s not really much at all. Unless the battery swells up…

Oh, and I have to add that the new iMac with Retina 5K screen is so nice you have to see it to believe it. Not that my old iMac doesn’t work, but it’s upstairs and I haven’t room for it down here and going upstairs to my old office is an expedition so there’s no way I could justify spending that much, but wow! Squared.

I also find I may need equipment to do quality podcasts, so I have another reason to upgrade my MacBook Pro…


Peter Glaskowsky called my attention to this:

Microsoft Will Not Fix Power Management Issues with New Surface Devices Until Next Year


I’ve got bad news for Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 users: The software giant now says it will this year not solve the endemic power management issues that have dogged these two premium devices since their October launch. And it is recommending a workaround until it can figure out the “very hard computer science problem” that causes the issues.

I briefly contemplated getting a Book or a Surface Pro 4, but I have had good experiences with the Surface Pro 3, and ended up buying only the Surface Pro 4 keyboard/cover. I don’t regret doing that; for a two finger typist the Pro 4 keyboard is much, much better, Works on the Pro 3, and the fingerprint recognition works with the Pro 3 and is much better than the ThinkPad fingerprint system. I wanted to see how the Book worked out; I’ll wait until they have the bugs under control to do that.


Eric calls our attention to this:

The latest in powerline networking


We finally ran an Ethernet cable to the back room, and did other thing to get both wireless and Ethernet all over the house; it’s possible that this would have done the job


“NEW: Shooting suspect Tashfeen Malik passed DHS counterterrorism screening as part of her vetting for K-1 visa,”

Yup. our super efficient DHS screened the San Bernardino killer, Tashfeen Malik, when she came in on a K-1, fiancé, visa.

The killer is that the town in Pakistan she claimed as her home town does not exist.

San Bernardino Female Terrorist Passed DHS Screening http://patterico.com/2015/12/04/san-bernardino-female-terrorist-passed-dhs-screening/


More SB Data Points

The woman in the shooting has links to a certain radical cleric and a radical mosque in Pakistan:


She easily passed through the visa process:


And this president’s solution is disarm citizens and bring in more folks when we can’t vet the ones we brought.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

If they do not even detect that her hometown didn’t exist, what does this say for the accuracy of the “background scrutiny”? Of course ID checks are expensive; one reason not to flood the country with migrants. The “fiancé visa” she entered on may once have been a good idea; not so sure it is now.


You might enjoy this.  I did.



2015 Darwin Awards

Yes, folks, these are all true – you can’t make up this stuff.

Nominee No. 1:[ San Jose Mercury News]:

An unidentified man, using a shotgun like a club to break a former girl friend’s windshield, accidentally shot himself to death when the gun discharged, blowing a hole in his gut.

Nominee No. 2:[ Kalamazoo Gazette]:

James Burns, 34, (a mechanic) of Alamo MI, was killed in March as he was trying to repair what police describe as a “farm-type truck.” Burns got a friend to drive the truck on a highway while Burns hung underneath so that he could ascertain the source of a troubling noise. Burns’ clothes caught on something, however, and the other man found Burns “wrapped in the drive shaft.”

Nominee No. 3:[ Hickory Daily Record]:Ken Charles Barger, 47, accidentally shot himself to death in December in Newton NC. Awakening to the sound of a ringing telephone beside his bed, he reached for the phone but grabbed instead a Smith & Wesson 38 Special, which discharged when he drew it to his ear.

Nominee No. 4:[UPI, Toronto ]:

Police said a lawyer demonstrating the safety of windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper crashed through a pane with his shoulder and plunged 24 floors to his death. A police spokesman said Garry Hoy, 39, fell into the courtyard of the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower early Friday evening as he was explaining the strength of the buildings windows to visiting law students. Hoy previously has conducted demonstrations of window strength according to police reports. Peter Lawson, managing partner of the firm Holden Day Wilson, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was “one of the best and brightest” members of the 200-man association. A person has to wonder what the dimmer members of this law firm are like.

Nominee No. 5:[The News of the Weird]:

Michael Anderson Godwin made News of the Weird posthumously. He had spent several years awaiting South Carolina’s electric chair on a murder conviction before having his sentence reduced to life in prison. While sitting on a metal toilet in his cell attempting to fix his small TV set, he bit into a wire and was electrocuted.

: Nominee No. 6:[The Indianapolis Star]

A cigarette lighter may have triggered a fatal explosion in Dunkirk IN. A Jay County man, using a cigarette lighter to check the barrel of a muzzleloader, was killed Monday night when the weapon discharged in his face, sheriff’s investigators said. Gregory David Pryor, 19, died in his parents’ rural Dunkirk home at about 11:30 PM. Investigators said Pryor was cleaning a 54-caliber muzzle-loader that had not been firing properly. He was using the lighter to look into the barrel when the gunpowder ignited.

Nominee No. 7:[Reuters, Mississauga, Ontario ]:

A man cleaning a bird feeder on the balcony of his condominium apartment in this Toronto suburb slipped and fell 23 stories to his death. “Stefan Macko, 55, was standing on a wheelchair when the accident occurred,” said Inspector Darcy Honer of the Peel Regional Police. “It appears that the chair moved, and he went over the balcony,” Honer said.

Finally, THE WINNER!!!:[ Arkansas Democrat Gazette]:

Two local men were injured when their pickup truck left the road and struck a tree near Cotton Patch on State Highway 38 early Monday. Woodruff County deputy Dovey Snyder reported the accident shortly after midnight Monday. Thurston Poole, 33, of Des Arc, and Billy Ray Wallis, 38, of Little Rock , were returning to Des Arc after a frog-catching trip. On an overcast Sunday night, Poole ‘s pickup truck headlights malfunctioned.

The two men concluded that the headlight fuse on the older-model truck had burned out. As a replacement fuse was not available, Wallis noticed that the .22 caliber bullets from his pistol fit perfectly into the fuse box next to the steering-wheel column. Upon inserting the bullet the headlights again began to operate properly, and the two men proceeded on eastbound toward the White River Bridge .

After traveling approximately 20 miles, and just before crossing the river, the bullet apparently overheated, discharged and struck Poole in the testicles. The vehicle swerved sharply right, exited the pavement, and struck a tree. Poole suffered only minor cuts and abrasions from the accident but will require extensive surgery to repair the damage to his testicles, which will never operate as intended.

Wallis sustained a broken clavicle and was treated and released. “Thank God we weren’t on that bridge when Thurston shot his balls off, or we might be dead,” stated Wallis

“I’ve been a trooper for 10 years in this part of the world, but this is a first for me. I can’t believe that those two would admit how this accident happened,” said Snyder. Upon being notified of the wreck, Lavinia (Poole’s wife) asked how many frogs the boys had caught and did anyone get them from the truck? Though Poole and Wallis did not die as a result of their misadventure as normally required by Darwin Award Official Rules, it can be argued that Poole did in fact effectively remove himself from the gene pool.



Forget Old Age, It’s Time to Live Long and (Really) Prosper

Advances in health care have added years to our life. According to Laura Carstensen, the founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, it’s time we added life to our years



Laura Carstensen

Dec. 3, 2015 10:26 a.m. ET

Given the option of a 30-year life extension, who would apply it only to old age? Yet, this is precisely what we’re doing. Life expectancy nearly doubled in the 20th century, with all those extra years tacked on at the end.

Instead of thinking imaginatively about this unprecedented opportunity, we tend to wring our hands at the thought of populations top-heavy with the elderly. Policy makers despair over Social Security, but the idea that we should buckle down and save for 40-year retirements is utterly misguided. The real problem is that our lives are still led according to the norms and social scripts that guided our grandparents. We humans are creatures of culture, and life expectancy increased too fast for culture to keep pace.

Flash forward 30 years: Every fundamental aspect of our lives will change, and none more so than work. We will work many more years but fewer days in a week—reaping cognitive, social and physical benefits in addition to financial gains. Rather than raising children at the peak of our careers, we’ll cycle in and out of full-time and part-time work, allowing parents—finally—to achieve a work-life balance. We’ll pursue multiple careers, and education, instead of stopping in our 20s, will continue throughout life, with intermittent returns to universities, nanodegrees and employer-based training. Gap years, sabbaticals and extended leaves between jobs will become commonplace. Workforces will be more age-diverse than ever before, and the glimmers from research on mixed-age work teams indicate they outperform all others. Matching the speed and flexibility of youth with the experience and stability of age will make work more enjoyable and profitable in the age of longevity. Career arcs will expand early and contract very gradually as we trade income for flexibility and apply well-honed skills to work that matters greatly to us.

Our record-length lives afford us the chance to redesign the way we live, and write a life script for lifetimes that last a century. It won’t be a story about old age—it will be a story about long life.

Laura Carstensen

Laura Carstensen is the founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity.

Maybe we’ll be around longer than we planned on.  Meaning that we run out of money…  There ought to be SF stories in that.


‘Steve Jobs’ Flops at Box Office, and Silicon Valley Cheers     (nyt)

DEC. 2, 2015

The movie “Steve Jobs” had all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster.

It had a starry cast (Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels, Michael Fassbender). The screenplay was by the acclaimed writer Aaron Sorkin (who also wrote “The Social Network”). And it received rave reviews (“‘Steve Jobs’ is a rich and potent document of the times,” wrote my colleague A.O. Scott.)

But the movie tanked at the box office, earning about $18 million in the seven weeks after its Oct. 9 release. Perhaps Hollywood had overestimated the public’s fascination with the man. Perhaps the film came a couple of years too late or a couple of decades too early. Or perhaps we have Steve Jobs fatigue, after all the books, movies and documentaries on the visionary Apple co-founder.

But perhaps most surprising is the way in which Silicon Valley relished in, and contributed to, the film’s demise. [snip]


An Apple press release that may portend something big.  The buzz has been pretty big.

Apple Releases Swift as Open Source

Developer Contributions Will Help Make Swift Even Better and Available on More Platforms

CUPERTINO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Apple® today announced that its Swift™ programming language is now open source. As an open source language, the broad community of talented developers — from app developers to educational institutions to enterprises — can contribute to new Swift features and optimizations and help bring Swift to new computing platforms. Introduced in 2014, Swift is the fastest growing programming language in history and combines the performance and efficiency of compiled languages with the simplicity and interactivity of popular scripting languages.* Apple today also launched the Swift.org website with detailed information about Swift open source, including technical documentation, community resources and links to download the Swift source code.

“By making Swift open source the entire developer community can contribute to the programming language and help bring it to even more platforms,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “Swift’s power and ease of use will inspire a new generation to get into coding, and with today’s announcement they’ll be able to take their ideas anywhere, from mobile devices to the cloud.”

Swift is a powerful and intuitive programming language that gives developers the freedom and capabilities they need to create the next generation of cutting-edge software. Swift is easy to learn and use, even if you’ve never coded before, and it’s the first systems programming language that is as expressive and enjoyable as a scripting language. Designed for safety, Swift also eliminates entire categories of common programming errors.

The Swift open source code is available via GitHub and includes support for all Apple software platforms — iOS, OS X®, watchOS and tvOS™ — as well as for Linux. Components available include the Swift compiler, debugger, standard library, foundation libraries, package manager and REPL. Swift is licensed under the popular Apache 2.0 open source license with a runtime library exception, enabling users to easily incorporate Swift into their own software and port the language to new platforms. For more information about Swift, and access to community resources visit the new Swift.org.

*Based on RedMonk Programming Language Rankings, June 2015.

Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple’s four software platforms — iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.

NOTE TO EDITORS: For additional information visit Apple’s PR website (www.apple.com/pr), or call Apple’s Media Helpline at (408) 974-2042.


We’ll take this up another time after I think on it.

Parents May Pass Down More Than Just Genes, Study Suggests


Lamarckianism is getting a scientific test:


Who woulda thunk it? But data beats theory every time.


Lamarckian evolution is something I thought had been settled : it doesn’t happen in nature.  Of course genetic engineering is Lamarckian as is much computer evolution..









Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




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